Happy Healthy Homestead

Soil for Raised Beds

We recently put in 6 new raised beds! They are lovely, but man was that a lot of work! Our garden area is on a little hill, so picture in your mind running up the hill with a wheel barrow about a million times to fill the beds with about 2 yards per bed! Yep. Thanks hubs <3

When we initially put in my first set of concrete block raised beds 8 years ago we had ordered topsoil to be delivered. We decided to use this same company to delivery again except this time would be a much bigger load since we are building bigger beds and more of them.

With our old raised beds we only used the topsoil that was delivered and then topped it off with a few bags of raised beds mix each spring. I did successfully grow green beans, cucumbers, herbs, and a few other things. However, I failed at many more things. Many learnings later I know the biggest culprits were 1) lack of nutrients in soil 2) the soil was too dense on the top layer 3) lack of direct sunlight for majority of the day (which is another topic).

In order to not repeat the same errors with my new redwood raised beds, this is what I did this year:

I have 4 beds that are 8x4x2 and 2 beds that are 6x4x2. For the 8′ beds it takes about 2 yards to fill each bed. For the 6′ beds it takes about 1 1/2 yards to fill them. I ordered 11 yards total to be delivered. 4 yards of organic compost and 7 yards of topsoil. That was the first change I made is to have some compost mixed into the topsoil. Still it wouldn’t be enough and it would not help with the denseness. So what I decided to do was purchase bags of additional compost manure (for nutrients), potting soil (for the fluffy lightweight top layer), and coconut coir (to help with the denseness and drainage). I decided to do 1 bag of each of those 3 items for each bed. In total I purchased 6 bags of manure, 6 bags potting soil, and 6 bags coconut coir.

My plants should be set as far as fertilizer goes for the first 3 months. We have recently added some worm castings. Towards middle-end of summer I plan to make a Comphrey compost tea to pour over the soil and give it a little nutrient dense soil smoothie. I will write a detailed post about that in the future.

What types of fertilizing and soil mixing methods do you do in your garden?

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